Trillium Brewing Co. reopened its doors Monday, nearly a month after state regulators shut it down for operating without a license.
The owners of the Congress Street brewery had failed to renew its “farmer-brewery” license for 2014, meaning the business was operating illegally for most of this year, state alcohol officials said. On Monday, however, the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission accepted a belated license application and allowed the brewery to reopen immediately.
Despite having no license for nearly 11 months, Trillium operated openly, with beer lovers lining up on the sidewalk for tours of the Fort Point brewery and tasting room. The oversight was caught Nov. 23 by Boston police and the city Licensing Board, which called the state agency, according to a report by commission investigator John Carey. The state shut down the brewery and tasting room after a commission investigator posing as a customer bought beer there.
Trillium will not face further fines or license suspensions, officials said, because the commissioners believed the monthlong closure was sufficient punishment. Carey’s report says the application “appears to be in order and would otherwise be put forward for approval.”
In an e-mail, Trillium co-owner Jean-Claude Tetreault insisted that he submitted a renewal application in December 2013 and is unsure why the ABCC has no record of it. Earlier this month, he published a statement on a popular online beer forum about the lapse, saying that no one at Trillium had been aware the company was operating without a license.
State officials said they sent Trillium three notices about its failure to renew, with the last one stating that the commission assumed the business was no longer operating.
While it was closed, Trillium urged fans to buy nonalcoholic merchandise like T-shirts to help keep the business afloat.
Trillium is apparently eager to stay off the commission’s naughty list next year: State officials said it has already submitted its 2015 license application.